WITH travel restrictions easing across the country, here's a state-by-state guide to parks and track closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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DESPITE a spike in coronavirus cases in the Garden State, the Victorian Government has continued with its decision to ease restrictions across the state.
Most parks and tracks were reopened to the public earlier in the month, and these will remain open. Fishing, boating and bush-walking is also permitted, with Parks Victoria adding a few non-negotiables:
- Do not gather in groups of more than 20 people.
- Check that the park is open before travelling.
- Avoid parks that are usually busy on a weekend.
- If a car park is full, no more people can visit that site.
In addition, the ski season has also began, with a few changes implemented by Parks Victoria. Visitor numbers will be limited at Mount Buffalo National Park, Mount St Gwinear (Baw Baw National Park) and Mount Donna Buang (Yarra Ranges National Park). "Once capacity is met, entry to the park will be temporarily halted to manage visitor numbers," a Parks Victoria statement reads. "Vehicles will be permitted to enter as other vehicles leave."
Sites that remain closed include Redwood Forest in Warburton, Buchan Caves Reserve, Lower Glenelg National Park and Point Nepean National Park.
For more information, please visit: www.4wdvictoria.org.au/
New South Wales
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) began easing travel restrictions from June 1, reopening most campgrounds and permitting recreational activities including bushwalking, fishing and birdwatching.
High-risk activities (rock climbing, abseiling and canyoning) should be avoided, "to avoid increasing demand for emergency services".
Before you pack your bags, remember that booking is now required for all camping and accommodation in all NSW national parks. Back-country camping requires you to complete a mandatory Trip Intention Form.
The NSW snow season has also officially begun, with Thredbo opening on June 22, Perisher on June 24 and Charlotte Pass on June 26.
There are some closures still in place. To find out more, visit: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/
The majority of Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) facilities, parks and reserves were reopened to the public from June 15; while the 30km travel limit has also been lifted.
Some campsites - including the Overland Track, Frenchmans Cap, Arm River, Pine Valley, Scott Kilvert and Walls of Jerusalem - require registration.
Otherwise, it's back to business as usual in the Apple Isle, with some of the state's major attractions - including Three Capes Track and Dove Lake - open to the public.
For more information, visit: https://parks.tas.gov.au/
South Australia has opened its borders to the NT, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia, with people entering directly from these states no longer required to quarantine for 14 days.
All South Australian parks were also reopened on June 1; this includes campsites, group facilities (firepits, barbecues, etc.) and bookable accommodation (shearers' quarters). A limit of 20 people per gathering is still in place, though.
"The risk of COVID-19 transmission from outdoor parks, playgrounds and equipment is low and can be managed by following important social distancing and hygiene precautions," the SA Parks website says.
More info: https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/
All national parks and state forest sites previously closed for COVID-19 have been reopened. However, there are some restrictions still in place to support Queensland Health directives:
- limiting the number of campsites.
- limiting the number of people who are able to access amenities at any one time.
- keeping showers closed.
Queensland Parks also advises the public to only enter areas where there are empty spaces in car parks.
Cooloola and Bribie Island remain designated Restricted Access Areas sites, while other site closures remain in force.
"Travel restrictions remain in force under the Queensland Chief Health Officer public health directions for designated Indigenous community areas," Queensland Parks says on its website. "National Parks in Cape York Peninsula along with Boodjamulla National Park in north-west Queensland remain closed to the public living outside the designated areas, as there are restrictions on travel for recreation and tourism purposes."
To stay up-to-date, and to see where bookings are essential, visit: https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/
From June 6, restrictions were eased in Western Australia, allowing the public to travel throughout WA and into the Kimberley region.
Changes still in force include to the online booking service, which allows campers to book up to 180 days in advance (previously 28 days).
Despite the re-opening of public spaces, sensible precautions still need to be taken. " The four square metres of space per person rule, with particular attention to shared facilities and areas such as ablutions, sheltered barbecues and other communal areas, must be followed," WA Parks says.
The following WA attractions and sites remain closed: Penguin Island Experience, Crystal Cave at Yanchep National Park and the Danggu Geikie Gorge Boat Tour.
Some restrictions remain. More information: https://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/
Travel restrictions in the NT were lifted on June 5, with the public no longer required to quarantine for 14 days before entering a remote community.
"Residents can move freely between their communities, homelands, country and town," says the NT Government website.
"Any non-residents wanting to go into a remote community must still must follow all the requirements of land councils and local communities, including checking if you need a land council permit to go there," it adds.
For information, visit: https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/